Malmesbury-based inventor Tom Lawton has become part of a viral internet story – which is tugging at heartstrings across the county.

Tom, whose striking sculpture ‘Wonder’ is currently on display in Malmesbury Abbey, saw huge success with his first invention, WakeYoo.

After completing his final year at Bournemouth University, he had devised a plan to push back against what, in the 90s, was seen as the ever increasing pressures of modern day life.

“I thought, let’s start at the beginning of the day? What frustrates me? The noise of an alarm," he said.

“We’ve all got more imagination than a sequence of beeps, so my idea was to make something with no sound on it, then the onus would be on the person to record what they wanted to wake up to.

“It encouraged people to use their imagination.

“This was around the time the term rat race was coined, so this was an effort to inject some fun into the same old 9-5 thing.”

“This was around 1997, before the Internet, so I had to work and work to find ways to make it happen.”

Tom, then 24, went from earning £4.50 an hour at a golf course, to getting WakeYoo licensed to a big manufacturer, which went on to sell a quarter of a million of them - within the space of 18 months.

Years later, long since times had moved on from the WakeYoo, a viral story emerged that brought memories flooding back for Tom.

Ed Morrish had been gifted a WakeYoo by his mother, when he was a new student heading off to Manchester in 1998.

“Get up Edward,” his mum Christine had recorded onto the WakeYoo – to ensure her son did not miss any lectures.

Ed, now aged 41, came across the 23-year-old clock as he rummaged through boxes in his garage - and was stunned to find it still worked.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

The discovery was all the more poignant as Christine passed away in 2006.

It’s the only recording of his mum that he has - and the find has meant his two young children have heard the voice of their late gran for the very first time.

He said: It’s lovely to be reminded of her voice and I laughed of course, because it was such a ridiculous thing for her to record.”

The story, shared across multiple media outlets, led to a flurry of people reaching out to Tom to alert him of the news.

READ MORE: Care home unveils gift from Malmesbury inventor Tom Lawton

“My Twitter notifications were going crazy, and people pointed me in the direction of his story," said Tom.

“I was always interested in making my inventions last, we had to rise of the throwaway, disposable element

"All my products are long life, solar powered or people powered

"So to see Ed’s WakeYoo still working 23 years later that it still works, made me proud of my younger self."

Still inspired

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Tom is inspired everyday in relation to his inventions, with plenty of exciting plans in the pipeline.

He picked up the Green Dot Award in Los Angeles for Firewinder, a wind-powered outdoor light. He used the sculpture as a way to encourage people to inspire people to embrace the beauty of renewable energy.

In Royal Wootton Bassett, he handed out Million Mile Lights, to make pupils more visible to drivers on dark country roads.

Tom was inspired to design the lights after he experienced the shock of a close friend's sister being killed by a car one bonfire night.

His most recent invention, Uplift 2.0, is a solar powered sculpture designed to sit on a windowsill and gently revolve in the light, with a design inspired by the ocean and the motion of the waves.

It is made from recycled fishing nets, powered by a solar panel and aims to relax the mind.

For Tom, a large part of his work acts as a means to relax people.

Amid an obsession with screens, work and social media - he hopes to draw people to nature and a more peaceful existence.

"I haven’t changed in all this time, I'm still an inventor, and I still have the same aims," he said.

"In a way, all this about WakeYoo was just a great reminder of how everything started.

"In a way I remember so many aspects of my mind at that time. Really I'm not majorly different to that person I was. I still strive for the same goals and have the same determination."